Passion for qualitative research
There is a special kind of aliveness, call it passion, that the qualitative researcher feels for the deep, real-world experience of being, talking, questioning, and observing consumers and subjects.
The sudden relaxation of the shoulders of a teenage in an in-depth interview, when you know that he is at ease and speaking from the heart.
The moment when the whole family forgets that the anthropologist and observer team are present in a household ethnography, and a mother has an emotional talk with her child, as if we're not there at all.
The phenomenal situation in an authentic ethnography when a millennial respondent gets so involved in her technology that we seem invisible and we know that there is no staging with how she is handling her online experience
The experience in a live focus group when a simple projective exercise causes not only an a-ha in the moderator and back room observers, but that panelist is amazed at the emotion her drawing has brought out in herself. In that second she knows herself just a little better and reveals a side of the category or brand that no one had suspected.
Joined with the right methodology, the aliveness of the respondent and the passionate involvement of the qualitative researcher with the observational team has the power to bring findings to life in new and enhanced ways.
We love digital ethnography and online blogs with the consumer because they bring us closer to their everyday life with reporting that is relaxed, easy, at her or his own pace, and very in the moment.
But the chance to actually see, talk with, and observe someone live should not be missed. What we have found is that the persona of the consumer shows differences when he or she is in a focus group vs. an in-home ethnography vs. online. Doing several hybrid forms of qualitative in sequence gives the ethnographer and team a chance to see more of the totality of that consumer's life and experience.